When Is Probate Needed?
Probating of the decedent's estate is needed if there are items of property that need to be titled or transferred to his or her heirs or beneficiaries. However, probate proceedings are not needed in cases if the decedent held all of his or her property in the name of the decedent and his or her spouse, then that estate is said to be in joint tenancy.
Probate Is Not Needed For Property Held In Joint Tenancy
In that case, no probate court proceeding is necessary and the transfer of the property can be made into the sole name of the surviving spouse.
If the assets of the estate are only for which the decedent has designated beneficiaries, then a probate may not be necessary. For example, life insurance policies, 401K's, IRA's, bank accounts and some real estate may be transferred to the designated beneficiaries without going through probate proceedings.
If the decedent neglected to name a beneficiary or if the beneficiary died before the primary decedent than probate proceedings may still be necessary.
Value Limits On Assets
In Minnesota, if the assets do not include real estate and if the assets of the decedent are worth less than $50,000, probate can usually be avoided with the preparation of an affidavit of collection. This document should be prepared by a probate attorney to be sure all the legal formalities are followed. This informal process provides a simple and effective way to get the estate settled without probate proceedings.
Sometimes people want to avoid probate at all costs. Sometimes this is possible. However, it is important to use an attorney knowledgeable in probate processes to be sure everything is done right.
Probate Mistakes Can Be Very Costly To Correct
You don't want to find out in six months or in a year or two that something was done wrong. At that point, trying to correct a mistake can result in considerable inconvenience and expense.
The contents of this video are for information only and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. For personal legal advice you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in probate law or estate planning.